Hi all! My bf and I have been in Japan for about a week now.
Neither of us speak Japanese, but we’ve been able to fumble our way through with relative success! Here’s the first in a short series about our VK misadventures.
The first VK-related activity was on Friday, when we attended a king zeebra event at Shinsaibashi FANJ.
(Actually, our first VK experience in Japan was encountering a train advertisement that featured Gackt. It was for a
plastic surgery cosmetic office, naturally.)
- The doors opened at 16:00. Door tickets were each 3,800 yen plus 600 yen drink ticket.
- At the time, we weren’t sure how the flow would work, but we got in without incident 🙏
- Fans arranged themselves casually, and there was plenty of space on the floor for bags. We stood toward the back, just in front of the merch tables.
- Osaka Boys (Axkey cover session) opened, and performed surprisingly well.
- Next was Tsunaga Re:ZERO (繋がRe:ゼロ), who had the best costumes (very "winter fantasy"). Their songs were unique, and the guitarist played especially well. During one song, they parted us like the Red Sea, then came down onto the floor to encourage each side of the audience to out-scream the other (no one screamed).
- Kousai☆RaveL (虹彩☆RaveL) played generic "fun" music, but did a good job.
- MAD LIP had "cool" energy, and a good heavy song.
- CieLGraVE was the best, aside from their costumes. They vamped appropriately, had cool SEs, and played proper, memorable songs. Just from that performance, we stan.
- HAKLO was last and most popular. Their costumes looked luxe, and their bassist(?) was extremely cute, but I found their music too generic. We left before the encore.
The following will be obvious to anyone who’s been to VK lives before, but:
- For 15 minutes between sets, some girls exit the livehouse, some arrive, and others switch positions in the front row, so that the "main" girl can be center stage for her fav. This is also the time when one can use their drink ticket or buy items from the merch tables (which are sometimes staffed by members of the band that just played).
- Playing order tends to follow popularity, with most popular last. I was happy to see that the hall was never embarrassingly empty.
- I've been surprised to see a few men and older women at each live I've been too. I wonder what the composition is for more popular bands.
- Every time a vocalist pops his tongue out to the side to look sexy, it just reminds me of a lizard lmao.
- I love the brutality with which certain girls will ditch a live as soon as their fav has played.
- This probably reflects seeing super-minor bands in Osaka but: furi is maddeningly homogeneous. There seem to be, like, 6 moves that are shared between all bands for all songs.
- Amusingly, the furi seems to be done at its own tempo, irrespective of how well it fits with the song.
- The girls headbang with gusto (and it makes a nice breeze), but every other move seems to be done weakly and slowly (again, this probably differs at bigger lives). I had some sense of this prior to coming to JP, but seeing it in action is a little weird.
- Each band's "goal" seems to be to get the girls to "let go" and show some actual enthusiasm. For the most part, they fail, lol. (Even when girls are "rushing" the stage, it's more like a timid shuffle to lightly press themselves against their friends' backs.)
Some of that may have sounded negative, but my first real VK live was really satisfying. No band was bad, and certain bands (CieLGraVE in particular) reminded me of how exciting VK can be, despite myself not being a member of the young, female, Japanese demographic that VK is tailored to.
The sort of “idol” culture around VK is weird, but if you accept that (or participate in it), then it’s a really good time.